Buhari said those involved corruption it have a way of fighting back using the looted resources at their disposal
Uche Usim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday described the battle against systemic corruption as very tough because the perpetrators will always find a way to contaminate the reformed system to ply their unwholesome trade.
Buhari, who made the assertion in Abuja in his opening remarks at the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), said those involved in it have a way of fighting back using the looted resources at their disposal.
Represented by Vice, President Yemi Osinbajo, the President pledged that his administration would not relent in its fight against corruption, considering the destructive and contagious nature of the malaise.
He said: “Systemic corruption must fight back. Corruption has made economic challenges to have persisted over the decades, even when the Federal Government earned highest revenue from oil.
Right from the 80s till date, the figures of poor Nigerians keep increasing. In 2011, 112.47 million Nigerians were living in abject poverty.
“It is even worrisome that we’re growing at 3.5 per cent annually and projected to be the third most populous nation in 2015. We need to work hard and grow the economy, especially as we have seen that high oil receipts do not automatically translate to prosperity because of grand corruption. “Over the years, we have experienced massive looting of the treasury, diversion of public funds to private pockets. No country can prosper under such circumstance,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Uzomah Udo Udoma, revealed that the Federal Government has issued the first gold refining licence to Kian Smith Limited, in its quest to revamp and diversify the economy.
He said the move was also a product of focus labs as enshrined in the nation’s economic blueprint: the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
According to him, the primary objective of the ERGP was to get Nigeria out of recession, which, he said, the policy document has successfully achieved.
He said: “As an outcome of the ERGP focus labs, we have also been able to accelerate the development of the national gold development policy and the establishment of a federal gold reserves scheme in Nigeria,” Udoma said.
“Today, I am happy to inform you that the first gold refining licence has been issued to a company called Kian Smith Limited, which was one of the companies that participated in the labs.
“The Federal Government is finalising modalities to purchase gold from local refiners, via a federal gold reserves scheme.”
According to its own records, Kian Smith is a Nigerian company, registered seven years ago, with focus on minerals, commodities, and marine services company.
Udoma said a local automobile assembly plant was being supported to double its delivery in Nigeria and help drive economic growth.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of NESG, Asue Ighodalo, thanked the Governors of Lagos, Edo, Ekiti and a host of Deputy Governors and Ministers for attending the event.
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He urged participants to deliberate of various burning issues extensively in the urgent task of taking the nation’s economy to the next level.